|THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers|
Around the Neighborhood - Volume 2, Number 10
In 1973, Family Communications initiated a print newsletter titled Around the Neighborhood. This newspaper-like publication was largely directed towards parents but included some material for children as well. The information below documents the tenth issue from Volume 2 of Around the Neighborhood.
Tad Frog felt grumpy. He had been waiting so long for Prince Tuesday to come to Westwood with his family. But now that he was here, everything was wrong. All Tad's friends seemed t like Tuesday better than they liked Tad
"Tuesday's great at hide-and-seek," said Tad's friend Skunk.
"Yeah," said Tad's friend H.J. Elephant III. "He sure knows how to hide!"
"Phooey!" Tad said. "He's not that great. I can find him in a second."
Just then Tuesday ran in, home free.
"Nobody found me!" he shouted.
"Oh yes, I did," cried Tad. "I saw you."
"No you didn't!" Tuesday cried.
"Yes I did," Tad shouted.
"No you didn't!" Tuesday shouted at Tad.
They were both mad enough to fight, and they were still fighting when Mrs. Frog got there.
"What's this fight about?" she asked.
Tad and Tuesday stopped fighting and glared at each other.
"Everybody likes Tuesday better than me," Tad shouted. "H.J. and Skunk and you and every body. I wish Tuesday and his family would just go right back to Make-Believe!"
"Oh," said Mrs. Frog. "I think I see. You know, Tad, Tuesday is the king and queen's little boy, so they like him best." Tad glared at Tuesday.
"We don't want you to hurt Tuesday," Mrs. Frog said gently. "But Tad, you're ours, and we love you best. Isn't that right, Skunk? And H.J.?"
"Sure," said Skunk.
"You bet," said H.J.
Then Bob Dog spoke up. "Why don't we all go down to the lake?" he said.
Tad stood still. He still wasn't sure he wanted to go with them.
"You walk with me, okay, Tad?" said H.J. Elephant.
"Well," said Tad, "okay." He grinned at H.J.
"Let's go!" said Bob Dog.
There are many different kinds of houses for people to live in. People in cold snowy places live in houses made of packed snow. People who live near water sometimes live in floating houses called houseboats. Some people live on farms, and others live in apartments in buildings big enough to hold many families. People choose the kinds of houses that feel comfortable to them and meet their needs. Mr. and Mrs. McFeely live in a big house filled with plants, old furniture,a nd many pictures. Audrey-Cleans-Everything has a mobile home -- besides being the place where she lives, it is also her office. The outsides and insides of houses can tell you a lot about people.
In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, people live in very unusual houses. That's because they're pretend. In pretend, you can make up anything you'd like to live in, from a castle to a clock.
X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat both have homes in the same big oak tree. But each home is different. Henrietta's cozy little house is perched on a big branch. X lives in a knothole in the trunk.
Daniel Striped Tiger lives in a big grandfather clock. We can see the outside. But you can imagine what the inside of that clock might look like.
Grandpere lived in France when he was young. His home in Make-Believe is a small model of the famous Eiffel Tower in France.
The castle is the home of King Friday XIII, Queen Sara, and Prince Tuesday. It is royal and magnificent. It has as many different rooms inside it as you can imagine. It even has a Dill Pickle Room.
Put a sweet potato in a glass or jar filled with water. Wait a few days. Skinny white roots will probably come out at the bottom. (Keep the jar full of water.)
In a few more weeks, the potato will grow thick, leafy vines, and you can plant it in dirt if you want to. It can look like a little bit of Spring in a jar.
Children's fights can be hard to disentangle, and sometimes embarrassing for parents to mediate. "Yes you did!" "No I didn't!" "It was his fault!" "She started it!" But children's anger, selfishness, or jealousy can often give parents a valuable insight. Taking a moment to probe for the sting inside the hurt can be a good approach to solving more than a temporary spat. Many parents think that jealousy is an ugly feeling, and wish their children would control it. Some parents impress on children than it is wrong to be jealous. But jealousy is a natural response to loving someone -- you don't want to share what you love most. Children sometimes need help in expressing strong feelings.
Mrs. Frog, in Make-Believe, could have scolded Tad for his ungracious behavior. Instead, she asked Tad why he wanted Tuesday to go away. When Tad told her how he felt, she could fill his need with a few simple words. Of course, the words themselves are less important than a parent's attitude of understanding and support. A child's sense of his or her place in the family or among friends can easily be jogged by a newcomer. Most children's sense of who they are and what people think of them is surprisingly fragile.
In the world we know, outside Make-Believe, we know we can't always approach problems with the patience and perception of a Mrs. Frog. And other children are not always so good-humored as Tad's friends. Still, knowing that the giving of basic reassurance won't "spoil the child" can encourage a grownup to find his own words to mend the little gaps in a child's self-esteem.
CB: Here's a cupcake for you, Fred.
The bit of script above (only five seconds' worth on your screen) underlines one of the small but tasty interests Fred Rogers likes to tuck into Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Fred Rogers has found many different ways to express his playfulness with words; you can see that in the way he picks out and "plays with" the sounds of words, their shapes and oddities, the dance and rhythms of their differences.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood abounds with precise words used precisely. They are often big words like "lapidarian," which Fred Rogers explains means someone who cuts and polishes stones. But just as often, Fred Rogers will pick out and use small words like "copper," meaning someone who makes buckets. That was how he described Mr. Johnson, a copper who visited to demonstrate his art. Nor does Fred Rogers avoid using the technical names for things. For instance, "Ornithorhyncus anatinus" ("Ana" for short) is the name the Platypus puppet family gave to their daughter. But is is also the real generic Latin name for the platypus species!
Fred Rogers' interest in words sometimes takes the form of using foreign language words, like Grandpere's vivacious blend of French and English, or Jose Cisneros' Spanish-English. Or it can take the form of inventing language sounds, like Henrietta Pussycat's "meow-meow" language, or Robert Troll's delicious gibberish. Because children can interpret meaning from tones of voice, these half-English "languages" can tease a child to listen carefully, to put sound and sense together, and to rebuild the whole sentence through its gaps of sense.
Fred Rogers' use of language is not really meant as a learning tool, though it may be that too. It comes mostly from his own pleasure in the sounds and meanings of words. If you doubt that at all, be sure to read the complete text of King Friday's mellifluous "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" -- better still, listen to it the next time Friday recites it. It's just plain words in fun.
Note: If you miss a program that you or your child is particularly interested in, check with your local station to see when it will be repeated. Give them the program number.
Week of March 3
In #531, Mister Rogers displays a variety of buttons. The Ozanam Strings perform at Joe Negri's. Bob Dog gets to go to Westwood with the royal family for a visit. Mr. McFeely brings a film about skunks -- and a real live skunk -- in #532. Actress Maggie Stewart shows how to make sponge flowers. In #533, Mister Rogers talks about how it feels when someone else (a baby or a visitor) gets a lot of attention. In Make-Believe, Tad Frog feels jealous of the attention Prince Tuesday is getting. Miss Jean of Hodgepodge Lodge helps Mrs. McFeely make a terrarium, and in #534 there is musical entertainment at Westwood for the royal guests. In #535, Mister Rogers fingerpaints and talks about keeping creative messes within limits.
Week of March 10
In #536, artisan Jim Johnson shows how to spin yarn from flax. In #537, Mister Rogers watches Don Rapp, a juggler at Clemmons' studio. Prince Tuesday thinks his wishes can make things happen -- and fears what harm a bad wish might do. In #538, Mister Rogers has a recipe for homemade clay dough. Dottie Erdmann, a Denver sculptor, makes clay figures at Elsie Neal's. In #539, the Neighborhood of Make-Believe pretends about Little Red Riding Hood. The next day, in #540, there is a production of Little Red Riding Hood at the Browns' Marionette Shop.
Week of March 17
In #541, Mister Rogers shows how Audrey's mobile home can change from an office to a living room. Mister Rogers sets up a small tent in #542, and shows a film on "Places of My Own." Mr. Allmine returns in #543, but he no longer takes things. "Some things," he sings now, "belong to me." In #545, Mister Rogers shows a film about a merry-go-round, and in Make-Believe, the Purple Panda produces a merry-go-round the Purple Way -- just like that! Yuen-Yee makes egg-drop soup and David Yee makes fortune cookies at Brockett's Bakery.
Week of March 24
In #546, Mister Rogers shows a film about cranes. Someone plays Tooth Fairy when Daniel Striped Tiger loses a baby tooth. In #547, Henrietta gets up the courage to tell Al Worden how much she likes him. Mister Rogers reads some poems from Al Worden's book, Hello Earth (#548) and goes to an exhibit of kinetic art (art that moves) at Elsie Neal's. The energy crisis hits Make-Believe and in #549, neighbors realize how much they depend on electricity. Al Worden brings them a solar power system, and the neighborhood once again has electricity. In #550, Mr. McFeely appears on MGR-TV with a program called, "Deliveries I Have Made."
Around the Neighborhood and the materials that accompany it are published ten times a year by Family Communications, Inc., a not-for-profit Pennsylvania corporation. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is funded by grants from the Sears-Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Around the Neighborhood is created in association with Media Projects Incorporated of New York. Subscriptions, printing, and distribution are accomplished by Multiscope, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.
© 1975 Family Communications Inc.
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